Page:A Brief Bible History (Boyd and Machen, 1922).djvu/87

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17:14–20, and parallels. But he did not shrink from the sudden transition. As he came down from the mountain, he found at the bottom a boy possessed of a demon, who "fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming." It was a depressing sight, very unlike the brightness of the transfiguration. Even more discouraging, moreover, than the condition of the boy himself was the powerlessness of the disciples. They had tried to cast the demon out but had failed miserably, not because the power might not have been theirs, but because of their unbelief. The father of the boy, too, was lacking in faith. "I believe," he said; "help thou mine unbelief." Jesus did help his unbelief, and the unbelief of the disciples. He rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy.

At this period Jesus repeated on several occasions the prophecy of his death. The tragedy on Calvary did not overtake him unawares. He went deliberately to his death for our sakes.

Matthew 18:1-6, and Parallels

Even on such solemn days, when the shadow of the cross lay over the path, the disciples were unable to overcome the pettiness of their character. On the very journey when Jesus had told them about his approaching death, they had quarreled about the question as to which of them should be greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Thereby they had shown how far they were from understanding the true nature of the Kingdom. If the Kingdom was finally to be advanced under the leadership of such men, some mighty change would have to take place in them. That change did take place afterwards, as we shall see, at Pentecost. But at present the pettiness and carnal-mindedness of the disciples added to the sorrows of our Lord. Despite the intimacy into which he entered with his earthly friends, he towered in lonely grandeur above them all.

After the transfiguration and related events near Cæsarea Philippi, our Lord returned to Galilee. But apparently he did not resume permanently his Galilæan ministry. Soon we find him passing through Samaria, and laboring in Judea and in that country east of the Jordan River which is called Perea. This part of Jesus' ministry is recorded particularly in the Gospels According to Luke and According to John, although Matthew and Mark contain important information about the latter part of the period. The general character of the period is fixed by the expectation of the cross. Jesus had set his face toward